The essential mycobacterial amidotransferase GatCAB is a modulator of specific translational fidelity

Hong Wei Su, Jun Hao Zhu, Hao Li, Rong Jun Cai, Christopher Ealand, Xun Wang, Yu Xiang Chen, Masood Ur Rehman Kayani, Ting F. Zhu, Danesh Moradigaravand, Hairong Huang, Bavesh D. Kana, Babak Javid

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59 Scopus citations


Although regulation of translation fidelity is an essential process 1-7, diverse organisms and organelles have differing requirements of translational accuracy 8-15, and errors in gene translation serve an adaptive function under certain conditions 16-20. Therefore, optimal levels of fidelity may vary according to context. Most bacteria utilize a two-step pathway for the specific synthesis of aminoacylated glutamine and/or asparagine tRNAs, involving the glutamine amidotransferase GatCAB 21-25, but it had not been appreciated that GatCAB may play a role in modulating mistranslation rates. Here, by using a forward genetic screen, we show that the mycobacterial GatCAB enzyme complex mediates the translational fidelity of glutamine and asparagine codons. We identify mutations in gatA that cause partial loss of function in the holoenzyme, with a consequent increase in rates of mistranslation. By monitoring single-cell transcription dynamics, we demonstrate that reduced gatCAB expression leads to increased mistranslation rates, which result in enhanced rifampicin-specific phenotypic resistance. Consistent with this, strains with mutations in gatA from clinical isolates of Mycobacterium tuberculosis show increased mistranslation, with associated antibiotic tolerance, suggesting a role for mistranslation as an adaptive strategy in tuberculosis. Together, our findings demonstrate a potential role for the indirect tRNA aminoacylation pathway in regulating translational fidelity and adaptive mistranslation.
Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalNature Microbiology
StatePublished - Aug 26 2016
Externally publishedYes

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